Book order

Order Watercolor From the Heart by Barbara Nechis

Title Description Price shipping
Watercolor from the Heart  144 pages 8 x11″{21x 28 cm}. 200 full-color illustrations. Hardcover, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York ISBN 0-8230-1624-2: First printing 1993. (out of print). I have purchased all of the remaining copies from the publisher . Autographed Hardcover copy is $35 and includes priority mail. (California residents add 8% sales tax) US only

Make check payable to Barbara Nechis. Make payment in US funds or contact me for an invoice to use PayPal

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Nechis Studio
1085 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515.

Watercolor from the Heart Techniques for Painting the Essence of Nature

Every watercolorist who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the creative process of painting can benefit from this book. It shows how to develop both the thought process and technical facility needed to create original work. By departing from ingrained responses and clichéd rules, color and design can be used in fresh and unexpected ways.

Source material which is explored includes shapes in nature, photography, and the works of other artists as well as techniques which run the gamut of watercolor painting from hard to soft edge, wet to dry paper, and direct to layered painting.

Barbara Nechis, whose innovative and lyrical paintings fill these pages, inspires her readers to question traditional instruction, to be self-guiding and to call upon their inner resources as the wellspring of artistic ideas. At the same time, she explains the specific ways that watercolor can be explored for creative discoveries and fresh new effects.

Nature is the prevailing theme. Nechis’ floral paintings, her richly colored landscapes and the abstracts that evoke the moods of nature serve to illustrate how the artist achieves the poetic effects in her works. She draws from other artists working in different media, from literature and from photography to provide examples of excellence in design, technique and original thinking.

The book is aimed at teachers, intermediate and advanced students, as well as beginners.

“The artist works in a free-flowing style, but the strength of composition underlying her work is always evident, as is her spontaneous and lyrical interpretation of natural themes.”

Review from Handprint: Watercolor Books

“Barbara Nechis …emphasizes the creative process as the real guide in the choice of materials and techniques. Nechis focus is on breaking rules and diving wholeheartedly into the unexpected demands of painting wet in wet, which is inherently hard to predict, while bringing forward an intriguing composition, which is the core of visual narrative. …Her aim is to get us to think less and respond more to the experience of painting. She describes her painting method as a continual rhythm of watching the effects of her work, and waiting for new insights or directions to emerge from what is already there. (This is, in essence, a wet in wet improvisational technique for landscapes first used by Alexander Cozens over 200 years ago.) She offers dozens of nature photos in disorienting contexts, to get us to see the fundamentally abstract patterns of Nature’s beauty. She shows us how these patterns look just like ways of painting, too.

Only after she has let us really relax into the creative possibilities of painting does she circle around to ‘Technique As a Source of Ideas.’ This gets us into the core of her methods– painting with clear water, using a brush charged with many colors, controlling rivers of paint, color mixing on the paper, layering shapes. Then follow separate chapters devoted to glazing techniques, painting wet in wet, and inventive design. She goes farther into wet in wet methods than (virtually) any other painter and is much more inquisitive about the many ways to use them.

Nechis concludes her book with advice on using nature as a source of inspiration, and using photographs of natural forms as a source of ideas. This nicely concludes the book on the sweet similarity between natural beauty and the spirit of art and creativity.”

Comments from Readers

  • “Your watercolors are marvelous wonderful evocations of nature. I agree with your statement on how you respond to the entire experience of nature not being specific yet catching the whole essence of feeling about a place and an experience. Congratulations on your mastery of expression.”
  • “I want to tell you how great it is! It is so well written and the layout and photography are beautiful. There is so much in it to think about not only for specific painting ideas, but for a total outlook. Your book is one of the best I’ve read on painting and on living. Thanks for writing it.”
  • “Most interesting and informative and it does leave me with the desire to attempt watercolor.”
  • “We are exactly on the same wavelength and yet our work is so different.”
  • “The book is beautifully put together and inspiring. I’m moved to try some playful experiments using some of your suggestions. Perhaps to jump start myself in the new studio.”
  • “It’s exactly what I’ve needed to get me over kind of a dry spell in painting.”
  • “Thank you for your fabulous book. I’ve devoured it once and now Iím starting again, more slowly. It is unlike any other book out there a real stimulus for the imagination.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed your photography. I’ve taken so many similar shots but have never known how to use them.”
  • “I never thought that a book like this could be for a non-artist like me. I’m going to get some paints and start playing. Thanks for the inspiration.”

Watercolor the Creative Experience.                                                             Used copies may be found on Amazon

(although I wrote this book in 1979, I believe it is still relevant. It covers topics not included in Watercolor from the Heart so that there is little overlap. Over 38,000 copies have been sold in its 8 printings)

“Nechis writes for watercolorists who want to expand their technical abilities and grow aesthetically as well. And, for those who want to sell their paintings, she gives sound advice on dealing with galleries, preparing your work for shows, and keeping records. She provides constant attention to detail as she helps you develop the control that will make your spontaneous expressions more than lucky ‘happy accidents’. She includes numerous examples of her own work along with paintings by other outstanding artist; to help you understand the creative thought processes inherent in this exploratory approach, she explains the philosophy behind each work and the actual techniques used.”

Contents include: materials, beginnings, development and design, glazing, developing personal style, fixing failures, and numerous painting subjects such as landscape, flowers and buildings.

Reviews and Comments

  • “It’s a fine job, I’m proud of you – the cover job was gorgeous. I will recommend your book on workshops. Affectionately, Ed.” Edgar A. Whitney
  • “I am sincerely pushing your book to all my students because I really believe in what you do. I have not heard of one disappointed reader yet.” Zoltan Szabo
  • “Please accept my congratulations. I think your book is one of the finest among the many that have been written on the subject of watercolor.” Irving Shapiro
  • “I do wish you much success and critical acclaim- plus I hope that the book shakes up the old guard and sells like mad.” Carl Molno
  • “I am enjoying your beautiful book more than I can tell you. It is absolutely gorgeous- and written in such a clear, interesting manner (just like your paintings!)
  • “My first watercolor teacher is the best, most encouraging teacher for beginners…After my first 8 lessons she told me that if I could afford only one book it should be yours.”
  • “Thank you for writing Watercolor, The Creative Experience. My watery experiments have turned from frustration to FUN in 3-4 weeks. Your book title says everything and more than I can.”
  • “First of all I want to tell you how much I love your book! I have been looking for teachers and books for five years that use your approach and had finally decided that I was searching for the impossible. Then last summer I foulnd your book and have, literally, read every page at least twenty times. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I am a college professor. Now back to the twenty-first reading.”
  • “I have a shelf-full of watercolor books, but never enjoyed one more than yours! Even your choice of other artists’ works, you selected some of my favorites from past shows I’ve seen. I’m so bored with the tedious, realistic representations of barns, boats, landscapes, etc….never wrote to an author before..just wanted to let you know how pleased I was with your book…the thought processes were never verbalized or available in text until your book came along.”
  • “Have now worn out my new book by Barbara Nechis, Watercolor, The Creative Experience. It started out by being a good book club buy and I was very curious about her techniques, but I now have seen the world and will be, through different eyes, and am beginning to loosen up – all thanks to her wonderful talent of expressing herself to others beautifully.”

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